|Last update: 14-Sep-2006 10:12||NATO Update|
Riga Summit to send signal on enlargement
NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said the upcoming Alliance Summit in Riga will send a “signal” on enlargement, after meeting with the Prime Minister of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia(1), Nikola Gruevski.
Mr. Gruevski, who was appointed Prime Minister following the July elections, visited NATO HQ on 12 September, to discuss with the Secretary General his country’s progress towards meeting the requirements of NATO’s Membership Action Plan.
“This is a performance-based process, without automaticity,” the Secretary General told reporters, “But there will be, I hope and I am sure, an encouraging signal at the Riga Summit.”
Prime Minister Gruevski underlined the importance of the country’s reform process, both for its relationship with the Alliance and for the people of the country. “We are going to strengthen efforts…to join NATO,” he said. “What NATO is asking of us is to implement reforms which will improve the quality of life of citizens.”
Mr. Gruevski said that tackling corruption and reform of the judiciary and police were some of the key priorities.
From consumer to producer
The Secretary General praised the country for its defence reform and contribution to NATO-led operations.
“The Prime Minister is representing a country which is not only a consumer but also a producer, of security,” said Mr. De Hoop Scheffer.
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has been involved in NATO’s Partnership for Peace programme, which builds cooperation and interoperability with the Alliance, since 1995. NATO led a peacekeeping operation in the country until 2003. Today, the country contributes to and supports NATO operations in Afghanistan and Kosovo.
(1) Turkey recognizes the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.